A Trend in Technology Provider Marketing Techniques
The recession has brought about a few major changes in sales/marketing techniques in the technology industry. There was a time when only executive management was wined and dined and the common man was left out in the cold. Well my friends, that time is no more.
Over the last 18 months or so, I have been invited to more lunches and activity-based events that I have in my 20+ years in the IT industry. The two (lunches and activity based events) can be broken down into two categories of providers: those selling really expensive products and those with not-so expensive products.
Those in the really expensive product category usually are storage providers. Since these systems can easily reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the sales/marketing experience has to be equally impressive. As such, the event most often chosen is lunch at an upscale steak restaurant such as Ruth’s Chris or Fleming’s. The typical event consists of a small presentation (usually under 30 minutes) followed by a lunch from a scaled-down menu. Even though the menu is scaled down, the quality of the food is not; the reputation of the restaurant is still on display.
In the not-so expensive category, we typically find VARs and small product vendors. The event of choice in this category is entrance to something with mass appeal such as a blockbuster movie’s opening day. As with the lunches, the event begins with a 30 minutes presentation and then the movie begins. This type of event has become so pervasive that I recently had three invitations to see Iron Man 2 at the same theater on the same day (all at different times).
I don’t go to the lunches very often because I feel it is disingenuous to take advantage of something so expensive for no return. I only attend when I have a budgeted project. I’m also careful to keep track of the “promoter”. Some promoters are very good at setting up the presentations so that real information is imparted. Others are there just to get butts in the seats and the presentations tend to suffer for it. While I enjoy a good meal, I don’t want to waste my time. However, I do partake in some of the movies since they usually take place on a Friday (my day off) and I use them to network with the VAR and other IT professionals.
Other events in the expensive category:
- Tickets to major golf tournaments
- Tickets to basketball games
- Tickets to concerts
Other events in the not-so-expensive category:
- Tickets to baseball games (many can be bought in volume for under $10 each)
- Kart racing (fast go-karts)
- Lunch and games at a large entertainment venue such as Dave & Busters
What else have you seen? Anything outrageous?